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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Roatan, Honduras
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: LMU applicants only
  • Program Costs: Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start/Arrival Date End/Departure Date
Summer 2019 02/10/2019 ** Rolling Admission 06/13/2019 06/29/2019

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Application Fee: $100 Financial Aid Applicability: Some Financial Aid (Loans)
Class Standing: Sophomore, Junior, Senior Minimum GPA: 2.50
Housing Option(s): Hotel Credit Type: LMU Credit & Grades
Credits: 3 Semester Hours Faculty Program Director: Dr. Roy Houston
Faculty Program Director Email: Interview with Faculty Program Director or Designee Required: Yes
Study Abroad 101 Info Session Required: Yes Study Abroad Advisor: Jenny Visapattana
Areas of Study: Biology, Science LMU Core Courses Available: Explorations: Nature of Science, Technology, and Mathematics, Flags: Engaged Learning
Program Description:
Roatan, Honduras


This program familiarizes students with the basic concepts in tropical marine ecosystems with an emphasis on coral reefs through scuba diving (preferred) or snorkeling. This includes a scientific examination of the common biota and their ecological relationships. Studies of coral reefs will help students understand the coral reefs' importance in global biodiversity and their role as indicators of climate change. In accordance with the Jesuit tradition of LMU, students will also be doing an environmental service project during the course. 

Courses are taught by Dr. Roy Houston from the LMU Biology Department. Dr. Houston has spent many summers doing marine research in the region and has been involved in long-term reef monitoring studies on the local coral reef system. In addition, there will be guest lectures by staff at the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences.

Roatan Group


This program is held at the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences, on the northwest coast of Isla Roatán. Students will be housed at Anthony's Key Resort, adjacent to the institute. Much of the island coastline lies within the jurisdiction of the Roatán Marine Park, a protected reserve for countless species of marine and near-shore life. Roatán, the largest of the Bay Islands, is 30 miles off the north coast of Honduras. It is surrounded by close-in fringing and barrier coral reefs, which are part of the Meso-American reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. Roatán is a tropical island with mean air temperatures from 77 to 84 degrees and sea temperatures in the low 80's. Rainfall averages 80 inches; however, the island is out of the main hurricane belt. For a Caribbean Reef Life Field Guide, click here.


Students who are not science majors have the option of taking Biology 278, which would fulfill their science core requirement. Students who are science majors should enroll in Biology 328, which can satisfy upper-division major requirements. 


BIOL 278
Tropical Marine Ecology (for non-science majors) 
Professor Roy Houston
Pre-requisites: MATH 101. Basic scuba certification required. Personal interview with Dr. Houston prior to registration.

Nature of Science, Technology, and Mathematics Core Requirement
Engaged Learning Flag

Undertake field and laboratory studies of tropical marine habitats on Isla Roatán. This includes the examination of physical, chemical and biological aspects as applied to coral reefs, mangrove and seagrass environments. In addition, students will be introduced to basic reef studies involving observations, data collection, analysis and interpretation. (Science majors should take BIOL 328).

BIOL 328
Tropical Marine Ecology (for science majors and minors)
Professor Roy Houston
Pre-requisites: BIOL 101 and BIOL 102 or equivalent. Basic scuba certification is required. Personal interview with Dr. Houston prior to registration.

Undertake field and laboratory studies of tropical marine habitats on Isla Roatán. This includes the examination of physical, chemical and biological aspects as applied to coral reefs, mangrove and seagrass environments. In addition, students will carry out research involving reef monitoring techniques, data collection, statistical analysis, and interpretation.

Roatan Note


In Roatan, living facilities for students are provided by Anthony's Key Resort, adjacent to the institute. Students are housed in louvered bungalows with porches and hammocks overlooking the lagoon reefs. Each unit has a ceiling fan, 24-hour electricity, and hot water. Laundry services are available for a small fee. Accommodations are based on quadruple occupancy. Just a short walk away is the open-air dining room where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served. Meals are a mixture of North American and local cuisines. In addition, students have full access to the resort's recreational facilities. 

Note: Housing is not included on the first two days of the program where the lecture takes place on LMU campus.





Students will have free access to the Roatán Museum adjacent to the institute. This facility has numerous exhibits on the archaeology, geology and history of the Bay Islands. These exhibits emphasize the rich Mayan history of the indigenous peoples. Also, the Carambola Gardens, a botanical reserve where students can observe the native plants and terrestrial animals of the island, are a short walk away. 

Students will experience the music and culture of the Garifuna Indians, which are descended from the slaves that were brought to Roatán by the British over 300 years ago. The town of Port Royal, which is located on the eastern end of Roatán, was once home to Henry Morgan, the English buccaneer. He and over 5,000 of his pirates lived on the island during the 18th century. 


Roatan Dolfin
Optional Dolphin Swim and Snorkel, which allows you to swim and snorkel with our resident pod of dolphins on their terms, with no trained behaviors.

LMU Campus (housing not included)

Course Lectures: Thursday and Friday
Group travel from LAX to Roatán: Saturday at around 1-2am


Saturday Arrival Day: Check-in and orientation

Coral Reefs:  Intro, check out dive, lectures 
Mangrove / seagrass / field work on snorkel             
Coral Reef Ecology:  Lectures / exams 
Scientific Diving:  Lectures /dives 
Group field projects, data analysis 
Roundtable discussion, service project 
Final exam, island tour 

Most days include 2 scuba dives

Saturday Departure Date: Travel from Roatán to LAX:


Students will be required to purchase Dive Insurance through Divers Alert Network. Additional information will be discussed prior to departure.

For those of you who do not have their open water certification, below is a selected list of local dive stores that we recommend.

*Ocean Adventures
4414 Lincoln Blvd.
Marina del Rey, CA 90291
(310) 578-9391
*Dive n Surf
610 N. Catalina
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 376-9922 or (310) 372-8423
*Eco Dive Center
4027 Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90230 
(888) 728-2252
Pacific Wilderness
1719 Pacific Ave.
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 833-2422

*High recommended although LMU cannot be liable for any of the services provided by the vendors listed above.

Summer Program Costs (click here)